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  1. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Dawkins and the Twitter outrage

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Lemex, Aug 22, 2014.

    I've been following the backlash to Dawkins' comments on fetuses with Down Syndrome, and I've been groaning with annoyance all the way. I've never liked Dawkins as a social activist, and it's lead me to dislike him as a person, even if I value his scientific work. I also deeply resent his fans, and use him as a stick to beat New Atheist types with.

    But ... I kind of agree with him on the main point. Selecting life for their potential to contribute is an old idea, going back to at least Ancient Greece, and it carries with it the now tarnished word 'Eugenics', but it's still basically logical. Maybe if I composed his tweet I would not have used the word 'immoral', but I suppose when you have a society based on Christian morality comments such as Dawkins' are going to cause a mean-spirited reaction. But whatever.

    Also, I must say, it's made more clear to me (as if it needed to be made any clearer) of the utter hypocrisy of most New Atheist types, saying they dismiss philosophy using philosophy. Idiots; I'm not going to be diplomatic about that. Also it's shown me just how much negative reaction there is now to Dawkins from UK posters all over Facebook. I cannot say I think he doesn't really deserve it, but some of the comments from my fellow non-Dawkins-admiring atheists are really disgusting.

    Here is an article on the drama:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/11047072/Richard-Dawkins-immoral-to-allow-Downs-syndrome-babies-to-be-born.html

    What does everyone else think about this? Has anyone else been following it?
     
  2. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I hadn't seen that before you linked to it, but I also agree with Dawkins* and agree wholeheartedly with you about the general repulsiveness of the New Atheists. I've defended atheism most of my life (being one myself), but the behavior of the current crop is disgraceful.

    * I don't know about "immoral", but I think parents who know their fetus has Down's have a responsibility to the prospective child (and to themselves) to abort. My guess is that most such cases where the condition is diagnosed result in abortion. If the goal is to legally require such fetuses to be aborted, I'll have to re-think my position.
     
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  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    So how long until we get to the point we kill other people that might be useful to society?

     
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  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What is a "New Atheist"? How does he differ from someone who just doesn't believe in a god? Why do some atheists ("Old Atheists"?) hate New Atheists?
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I've been ignoring it because as usual the statement he made was taken out of context. He didn't make a blanket statement all infants with Down's should be aborted. He was replying to an individual.

    Here is what [Dawkins] would have said in my reply to this woman, given more than 140 characters:
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    And how did all atheists become one or two groups? :rolleyes:
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    'New Atheism' is a movement that emphasizes secularization and anti-theism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Atheism

    'Atheism' has always been to me merely a philosophical perspective on a single question, and not a shorthand for being anything more than that. New Atheists seem to beg to differ. I resent them because they presume to speak for all atheists - I have my own voice, I can speak for myself. And it's not a voice polluted by group thinking that says 'think for yourself'.

    Erm ... most sects of Buddhism are atheist, and the Buddha himself was an atheist. There has never been only one officially atheist ideology.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
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  8. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Since the 1950's (O'Hair and that mob), atheism has taken on a connotation of being against religion, rather than just not believing, which is why I don't use the word much to describe myself.

    New Atheists have added legal activism to their contempt for religious people, regularly suing, for example, public entities with religious-themed displays.
     
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  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    This is my other problem with his use of the word 'moral', that means to me he was making a blanket statement. His statement has been slightly taken out of context in the fact he was talking about unborn children, while most people seem to be acting as if he was advocating killing babies who are already here and of course he wasn't.
     
  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    You mean babies that would more than likely be born into little 'alive' babies had they not been aborted?
     
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  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Yeah, fetuses that are not killed have a much better chance of becoming a living baby. :p

    For the record, I'm very pro-choice.
     
  12. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I'm sorry but I think this kind of reasoning opens up a very slippery slope. So what if parents find out their baby is going to have red hair, but want a blonde baby? What's next killing it and trying again?
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't think normal humans think that coldly these days - at least not in primarily English-speaking culture. It did, kind of, happen in days gone by though. And I'm not going to give you some smart-arse existentialist line.
     
  14. Lewdog
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    So you don't think this is a slap to the face of all the people out there with Down's Syndrome or their families? I don't think many if any of them will tell you it is a fatal condition, and let's be honest, this is what this guy is trying to make it.
     
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  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'm not sure he is saying it is a fatal condition, at all, (I can't believe I'm defending Richard Dawkins here) he's just saying from an objective, purely logical stand point it's not a pleasant condition to be born with. He has apologized, in the article @GingerCoffee posted, saying it is your own choice in the end. It is his choice not to have a child if he knew it was going to be borne with a disability - as I think it would be mine too. I certainly do not think people with Downs Syndrome do not deserve the life they have, I've worked with vulnerable adults and loved my time doing that, and I have a feeling Dawkins would not say that either.

    It's a sensitive issue, and Dawkins isn't exactly known for being sensitive or diplomatic. He's an arse, but on the essential point I think I agree with him.
     
  16. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    [​IMG]
    Fuck you, Mr. Dawkins. Fuck you.
     
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  17. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Is that Corky or Ian Zerring? :wtf:
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You seem to be conflating atheists for separation of church and state with atheists against theists.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    But it can be immoral for a person who didn't want or wasn't sure they wanted the child, and not be universally immoral for all parents.

    Dawkins does make the mistake, IMO, in not realizing some kids with Downs are very happy individuals. Something about the mutation I believe from my experience with this birth defect results in happier than usual personalities.
     
  20. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    When I volunteered for a handicap school I found them to be happier than most people I know.
     
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  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Well, I guess it depends on what you consider is moral in this little sphere of thought I guess. I didn't know that about Downs Syndrome, however it makes sense given the people I have experienced with the condition.
     
  22. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    A man has absolutely NO business making (EDITED FOR CLARITY: these kinds of) comments about female reproduction. Only people with uteruses have the right to use 'morality' and 'abortion' in the same sentence. So, a reality check for Mr Dawson, the woman he impregnated will have that choice, because she'll be carrying that child. The choice is not his to make. %#€$¥%# :rant:

    And only people who personally know someone with Down's syndrome can judge about whether those people 'should've been aborted'. To be perfectly frank, people who go around pointing fingers at whole groups of people, identifying them as those 'who should've never been born' (this is the ultimate meaning of his statement) are much more burdensome and destructive as well as potentially dangerous to a society, then people with low IQ, or health problems, or both.

    I am not at all surprised by this latest attention-seeking stunt by somewhat forgotten Dawkins, though. He always struck me as a deeply traumatised person, the way he raved and ranted against religion, needlessly throwing his intellectual 'superiority' in the faces of people whom he neither knows nor their problems. In a weird way he reminds me of the WBC. I don't buy into the organised religion as much as the next person, but I'm not going around denigrating those who do believe. Why would anyone do such a thing, unless they are a bully themselves, and not very confident in their own beliefs.

    All that about Dawkins was a massive red flag for me, and the self-indulgent attitude of intellectual superiority, that is a hallmark of small-minded individuals. It's interesting how he managed to get so many people to follow his word like gospel, he's quite charismatic, I'll give him that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
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  23. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that the woman carrying the fetus is the one who decides whether or not to abort.

    However, this is a seriously offensive statement, @jazzabel. Saying that someone doesn't have a right to an opinion for any reason is intellectual tyranny.
     
  24. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I'm aborting myself from this thread even though Lemex started it.
     
  25. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    In her defense, I think she's saying that a woman and only that woman get to decide whether it's moral or not to abort who she knows will be a disabled child. Others can offer opinions all they want, but the final word, the final say, rests with the woman.

    With regards to Dawkins? I think he should let the women decide that for themselves. Does it suck to have Downs Syndrome? Sure. Does it suck to watch your kid have Downs Syndrome? Sure. But I think it's up to the mother of the Downs Syndrome kid to decide. If I were an expecting mother of a child with Downs Syndrome, I'd still have the damned baby because disabled or not, that kid deserves something of a life. It's not painful, it's not fatal. It's just...Downs Syndrome.

    I wonder how quickly he'd change his tone if he ever had a child with Downs Syndrome/was disabled in some other way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
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